TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M (21-10, 11-1 MEAC) allowed eight unanswered runs after taking a 4-0 lead as Jacksonville (19-12, 2-1 A-SUN) defeated the Rattlers by a score of 8-5 at Moore-Kittles Field on Tuesday. FAMU scored first with four runs in the home half of the first inning, but the Dolphins used three runs in the sixth and eighth innings to put the game away. A total of 13 pitchers were used between the two teams, while both teams tallied nine hits. Brian Davis and Peter Jackson each went 2-for-4 at the plate for Florida A&M and Cameron Johnson added three RBI.
Rattler reliever Tyler Reker (1-2) suffered the loss after giving up the go ahead run in the sixth inning. Reker allowed one run on three hits and recorded two outs in the sixth inning. Starter Danny Rodriguez worked a predetermined outing as he pitched three innings and allowed just one run on three hits with two strikeouts.
FAMU scored first as four runs came across with two outs in the bottom of the first inning for a quick 4-0 lead. The Rattlers batted around the order in the inning. Davis singled just past the second baseman with two outs, Jacky Miles, Jr. was hit-by-pitch and Marlon Gibbs walked to load the bases. Johnson then roped a bases clearing double into the right center gap for a 3-0 lead. Johnson then came home to score on an RBI single up the middle from AJ Elkins.
JU would score their first run of the game in the third inning to make the score 4-1. Dakota Julylia doubled down the left line with one out and came around to score with two outs as Austin Hays dropped in a bloop single into right field.
In the fifth inning, Hays crushed his 11th home run of the season, a solo shot over the fence in right field, to cut the FAMU lead in half at 4-2.
The Dolphins took the lead for good in the sixth inning after scoring three runs on three hits and an error for a score of 5-4. Seth DeWitt started off with a hit-by-pitch and Evan Hernandez drew a walk to put two runners on with no outs. Nathan Koslowski would then advance both runners with a sac bunt. Franco Guardascione then singled to right and a fielding error by Johnson allowed both runs to come home and Guardascione to advance all the way to third base. Guardascione later scored the final run of the inning on a safety squeeze from Julylia.
Jacksonville increased its’ lead to 8-4 with three more runs in the eighth inning on a three-run home run from Sam Armstrong, his first of the season. Guardascione led off being hit-by-pitch and went to second on a sac bunt from Julylia. With two outs, Hays was intentionally walked, but Sam Armstrong then blasted a three-run home run to right field.
Florida A&M tacked on an unearned run in the home portion of the eighth inning in what proved to be the final score of 8-5. Gordon reached on a throwing error by the third baseman and took second as the ball rolled into foul territory. Davis then advanced Gordon to third with a groundout to first before Miles, Jr.’s groundout plated Gordon from third for the Rattlers final run of the day.
Dolphin reliever Jeff Tanner (1-0) picked up his first win of the season after working 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with two hits, one strikeout and one walk. Starter Chris Gau allowed four runs on four hits with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter in the first inning. That was the only inning on the mound for Gau.
Florida A&M will next travel to Bethune-Cookman this weekend for a three-game series. The series will be played at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex with a doubleheader beginning on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Sunday’s series finale will also be at 1:00 PM.
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook. Live stats are also available on the baseball schedule page of FAMUAthletics.com.